Edmonton Urban Trail
Type of Trail:
Within the main river valley (excluding ravines), a combination of existing paved and granular multi-use trail surfaces, with some sections linked to city roadways and sidewalks. The eastern half is a continuous stretch of 2 – 3 metre wide paved multi-use trail, while the western half is mainly granular multi-use surface. Numerous footbridges cross the North Saskatchewan River allowing for a recreation trail experience with limited vehicle interaction. The Edmonton portion of the TCT is 28.7 km in length. Plans for expanding the trail system are in progress (regional connections could add up to 43 km).
Edmonton, from its vantage point on the North Saskatchewan River, began as a fur trade depot for the Hudson Bay Company. The Saskatchewan River and river valley were mined for natural resources – trees, coal, clay, ice and gold. After a damaging flood in 1915, civic leaders sought to promote and protect Edmonton’s river valley for parkland purposes. As a result of this early vision, Edmonton has the largest continuous stretch of urban parkland (in km) in North America, encompassing over 7400 hectares. Over 150 kilometres of paved and granular trails wind through Edmonton’s river valley and ravine system, and are used summer and winter. For a more complete history of Edmonton’s river valley, visit www.louisemckinneyriverfront.com.
Trail varies in grade throughout, with some challenging stretches climbing in and out of the valley. The trail passes through stands of aspen parkland and boreal forest, as well as through established neighbourhoods and city parks.
There are numerous access points located along the trail, including municipal parks, cultural facilities and city neighbourhoods. Numerous attractions and facilities can be visited along the length of the trail. The City of Edmonton produces a Cycle Edmonton map, which details all the bike routes in Edmonton, including the Trans Canada Trail. The map is available at many bike shops or park facilities at no charge. An online version can be found on the City’s website, www.edmonton.ca
The city’s trails are signed, but currently do not have TCT signage in place.
Amenities are located throughout the river valley; picnic sites, shelters and washrooms can be found in all parks. The trail also passes near some of Edmonton’s most popular recreational facilities.
Points of Interest:
In the course of its length, the TCT crosses the river six times by means of pedestrian and traffic bridges. Ten municipal parks and many of Edmonton’s most popular destinations are also found along the trail – Muttart Conservatory, the High Level Bridge, Alberta Legislature, University of Alberta, Fort Edmonton Park, Rundle Park, the Valley Zoo, and the Whitemud Nature Reserve. (For information regarding hours of operation for municipal parks and facilities, visit the City of Edmonton’s website, at www.edmonton.ca.
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